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Wilkes University Announces Launch of Playwriting and Screenwriting Master of Arts Program in Mesa, Arizona

Contact: Vicki Mayk

Wilkes University’s graduate creative writing program announces the launch of a master of arts program in screenwriting and playwriting based in Mesa, Ariz. The program will begin in August 2014 at the Mesa Center for Higher Education, 245 W. Second Street in Mesa. Prospective students will have a chance to sample the program and learn more at writing workshops in April. 

The M.A. degree will be offered in a convenient hybrid format, blending online and weekend classes. Throughout each semester, students will meet with the faculty at the Mesa Center for Higher Education, which Wilkes shares with Westminster College. 

Currently, Arizona students complete the M.A. in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, playwriting, screenwriting and publishing in a low-residency format. Students in these programs travel to the Wilkes campus in Pennsylvania every six months for an eight-day residency. 

 “We believe there is sufficient interest in these two areas to open this new way of delivering the program on the ground in Arizona,” says Bonnie Culver, co-founder and director of the Wilkes graduate creative writing program. “We have several Los Angeles-based faculty and producers who are eager to work with us to deliver these degrees in Mesa.” 

Screenwriting and Playwriting Workshops

Workshops being offered on April 5 and 12 will provide a chance to experience working with program faculty. 

Two screenwriting workshops are scheduled for Saturday, April 5 at the Mesa Center for Higher Education. “The Basics of Writing a Screenplay” will be taught from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. where students will learn the nuts and bolts of writing a screenplay and breaking into the film industry. Ross Klavan and Richard Uhlig, two Wilkes faculty and seasoned writers who have written and produced films, will teach this workshop. Following lunch with the filmmakers, a pitch session is scheduled from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. where students will be able to present their movie ideas and scripts to three filmmakers: Ross Klavan, Richard Uhlig and Susan Cartsonis. 

An interactive playwriting workshop is scheduled for Saturday, April 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This workshop will introduce two to 10-minute plays where students will write their own plays and have them formally read during the workshop conducted by playwright Bonnie Culver.  

All workshops will be held at Wilkes University in the Mesa Center for Higher Education, 245 W. Second St. To register, call (480) 878-4412 or email bonnie.culver@wilkes.edu

About Wilkes Playwriting and Screenwriting Faculty

Susan Cartsonis was named one of the top five grossing producers of the year by The Hollywood Reporter for her film “What Women Want.” She produced three teen hit films, “Where The Heart Is,” “Aquamarine,” and “No Reservations.” 

Bonnie Culver joined Wilkes in 1990 as an associate professor of English. In 2005, Culver co-founded the low-residency M.A./M.F.A. creative writing graduate program. She has written over 20 plays, many of which have been produced by community, regional and university theatres and equity companies from New York City to Los Angeles.

Ross Klavan’s novel, Schmuck, was recently published by Greenpoint Press. He has also written several screenplays, including “The Colony,” Baghdad Blog,” “Heaven’s Brides,” and “Tigerland,” which was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award. 

Richard Uhlig co-wrote and co-produced the feature comedy “Viva Las Nowhere.” He also wrote, directed and produced documentaries for PBS and has written three novels.

Published On: 3/25/2014
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